Local reef enthusiasts dive into new role on the Southern Great Barrier Reef
Posted on February 4th, 2020
Two local operators in Keppel Bay have been selected to ensure a world-class representation of the Reef, its values and the management in place to protect those values, following the announcement of the fourth round of Master Reef Guides.
Soon to be recognised as two of the world’s leading advocates, interpreters and storytellers, both Sam Appleton from Keppel Dive and Max Allen Jnr from Freedom Fast Cats will train with national experts who are leaders in science, management and history in a bid to boost tourism and educate more visitors about the World Heritage Area of Great Keppel Island and the Capricorn Coast.
A long-term passion for his underwater backyard along with inspiring knowledge of the Southern Great Barrier Reef has landed Keppel Dive founder and director, Sam Appleton a prestigious role as one of the first Master Reef Guide’s for our region.
With 10 years as a PADI Dive instructor and as a commercial skipper of numerous vessels stretching the length of the Great Barrier Reef,Sam is proud to have been selected as part of the fourth cohort of Master Reef Guides to further make a difference to the ‘best office in the world’.
“The Great Barrier Reef is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and the reefs surrounding Great Keppel Island, and the Keppel group as a whole are some of the most pristine and underrated reefs in the World heritage, 2300 km reef system,” said Sam.
“The modern-day tourist doesn’t just want to see, they want to understand and learn. Our goal at Keppel Dive is to provide world class reef interpretation to our visitors.”
“The Master Reef Guide program will not only build my abilities as a guide, but also give me access to the latest science and information, that I can then pass to all of our staff and guests enhancing the experience for all of our visitors to the region.”
The Master Reef Guide program is delivered by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators and Tourism and Events Queensland and is the first of its kind for the Reef.
In 2019, the first three cohorts of Master Reef Guides were trained in a range of areas such as public speaking, enhancing visitor experience, and the power of interpretation.
Max Allen Jnr from Freedom Fast Cats will also join Sam as a Master Reef Guide in the fourth cohort, with the selection panel extremely impressed by Max’s background, presentation and passion for the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
The Southern Great Barrier Reef already boasts four Master Reef Guides across Lady Elliot, Lady Musgrave and Heron Islands through the first three cohorts. This latest intake will now include not one, but two master reef guides for Great Keppel Island.
Capricorn Enterprise CEO, Mary Carroll believes that the Master Reef Guides program is providing a formal and appealing qualification to our excellent tourism staff.
“Through the comprehensive selection and training process, our Southern Great Barrier Reef destination continues to raise the bar in professionalism and ensuring world class reputation,” said Mary.
“Becoming a Master Reef Guide demands dedication and intense training with only the best selected for the role. I am delighted for both Sam and Max and commend their enthusiasm, optimism and passion for our Reef. Capricorn Enterprise will encourage and support them through their training and professional development. We know that they will do us proud.”
Sam and Max will begin their Master Reef Guide journey by attending a specialised week-long training school due to take place at the end of February.
Bringing their own spin and creative flair, Sam and Max’s leadership as Master Reef Guides will play an important part in preserving and presenting our Reef’s colourful past, present and future to visitors, and help guide them through the elegance of the Southern Great Barrier Reef.